SIR EDMUND B. HEAD TO DUKE OF NEWCASTLE,
25 FEB., 1860.1
Quebec, 25th February, 1860.
My Lord Duke,—I have the honor to enclose a copy of a recommendation of the Executive Council of Canada, approved by myself, with reference to Wood Island on the coast of Labrador.
This island is situated about 57º 10' west longitude, just at the entrance of the Strait of Belle Isle.
Now, if I am not mistaken the Commission of the Governor of Newfoundland limits the jurisdiction of that Government as follows :—
“ In and over our Island of Newfoundland and the islands adjacent, and all the Coast of Labrador, from the entrance of Hudson's Straits to a line to be drawn due north and south from Anse Sablon on the said coast to the fifty-second degree of north latitude, and all the islands adjacent to that part of the said Coast of Labrador, as also of all forts and garrisons erected and established, or which shall be erected or established, within the said Island of Newfoundland and the islands adjacent, or on the Coast of Labrador within the limits aforesaid, or in the said islands adjacent to that part of the said coast, for and during our will and pleasure.”
It will be observed—1st. That the due north line forming the western boundary in Labrador of the Government of Newfoundland, begins to run from Anse Sablon or Blanc Sablon Bay, as it is called in Bayfield's Chart of 1832-4 ; consequently, that line of itself can affect nothing south of its commencement.
2. That the islands given to Newfoundland are those adjacent to the Coast of Labrador, belonging to that Government. But the word adjacent is hardly applicable to an island which is nearer to another territory, viz., that of Canada.
If, for example, in dividing the bed of a river the islands were annexed, respectively, to the bank to which they were adjacent, no one would say that an island which was nearer to the right bank than it was to the left could be called adjacent to the latter.
I hold, therefore, that the whole of Wood Island, which clearly, according to Bayfield's Chart, is much nearer to Canadian ground than it is to the Territory of Newfoundland, must be taken to be already part of the Territory of Canada, and I have to request Your Grace's consideration of the question.
I have, &c.,
His Grace the Duke of Newcastle.
1 Return and Supplementary Return to House of Commons (Can.) 1868, p. 1.